As Fromm points out, ours is “a life between having and being”—between mere having and healthy being, between destructiveness and creativity, between narcissism and productive self-understanding, between passivity and the joy of positive activity.
The alternatives of having and being are basic orientations of our character and determine our behavior. The mostly unpublished and unknown texts featured in The Essential Fromm encapsulate Fromm’s views on the fulfilling life. To put down roots yet remain free is what the late Erich Fromm called the art of being. It is the secret of happiness.